He went down to a local animal shelter to get a companion to walk with. It was there he found his new best friend.
"[Chloe] was an outgoing dog. She loved to go up to anyone and get attention," Branson said. "If I had her sitting here right now, she'd be on pins and needles wanting to go over to get attention from whomever. She'd go out of her way, rub against you, [and] coax you into petting her. And that's the personality she had. I've never had any time with anyone where she showed any aggression."
Chloe went everywhere with Branson, he said. It seemed like everyone loved her, too.
"She's been in the lobby of the credit union I do business with," Branson said. "The tellers there all loved her. They would go up and pet her. The girls at the local convenience store used to come out and pet her [and] feed her beef jerky. Every time we went up to a drive-up window, she'd look over - expecting food."
Her notably calm demeanor is why the events in late November shocked Branson so much.
Three-year-old dog named Chloe escaped from a garage on the 9600 block of Nucla Street on Nov. 24. A Commerce City police officer shot the dog five times as an animal-control agent placed a "catch pole" around its neck. A neighbor captured the incident on home video, which has incited anger among some community members.
When Kenny Collins called police about an unfamiliar dog loose in his neighborhood, he had no idea his neighbor was dogsitting for a relative. He had no idea it would end with the dog dead.
"I called police because I saw a dog wandering loose out front," Collins said.
Collins' neighbor was watching a large breed dog for her cousin who was out of town for the holidays. The woman said she left the 3-year-old dog named Chloe in the garage when she left to go shopping. She thought she closed the garage upon leaving, but it seems the dog tripped the sensor forcing the garage door open. That's when Chloe started roaming the neighborhood.
"He never came at me in an aggressive manner," Collins told 9NEWS on Nov. 25.
However, in his two 911 calls to police that day, he described the dog as aggressive.
"We're the Collins family. We got a dog that's aggressive out here," Collins told the 911 dispatcher. "It's like a big pit bull mix something. He's outside of our house, barking out our windows and stuff. [He's] barking at our neighbors. He's a big one. If I tap on the window he keeps barking at us [and] being confrontational - and we're in the house."
Collins said for about 30 minutes, the dog just sat inside the open garage door near her bed while officers decided what to do.
"You see the dog Tased whenever you see the dog drop," Collins said.
One police officer uses his stun gun twice on the dog driving her back into the garage. Then, as the dog tries to run out of the garage, an officer pulls out his gun and shoots at the dog.
"[The dog is] coming out and [the animal control officer] just noosed him," Collins said.
After the first shot, the dog is captured by the animal control officer on the catch pole. But, after it is captured, a police officer fires four more shots at Chloe, killing the dog. Collins said the video shows that the animal control officer appears upset.
"You can see her or whatever," Collins said. "Obviously, she was distraught."
He said he is also troubled by the fact that at least one stray bullet hit the animal control officer's car with neighbors and kids all around.
"That bullet was fired in my direction with me standing across the street," Collins said.
Commerce City Police initially released this statement reading in part, "An animal control agent was able to place a 'catch pole' around the dog's neck. The pit bull remained extremely agitated and continued to attempt to attack the animal control agent. Due to the dog's size and aggressive demeanor, it could not be controlled on the catch pole. For the safety of the animal control agent and the community, a police officer shot and killed the dog."
But, Collins said from what he saw and from what the video shows, the dog was simply trying to run away scared.
"I totally disagree with it, totally," Collins said. "The dog was not attacking people and that's not what I said when I called 911."
"She may have barked [or] thrown a couple woofs at a person, which is more or less normal for any dog," Branson said. "It's what they do. [But] being aggressive? It just doesn't sound like her. I just couldn't believe. None of it really made any sense to me. To me, it was beyond belief. This is a family member, really. It's hard to explain."
Commerce City Police Detective Mike Saunders tells 9Wants to Know animals can still be dangerous and have even bitten officers while restrained.
"Yes, the dog was on the catch pole. But, it was the officer's concern that the animal control agent wasn't able to maintain control of the animal and the fear was that the animal was going to come off the catch pole and attack the officers or get loose and run back into the neighborhood putting citizens in danger," Saunders said. "They attempted to [shoot the dog with a stun gun] the dog twice however that had no effect on the dog."
Saunders says Commerce City police are now reviewing the video.
"We need time to look at the video. We need time to look over the officer's report. And we need time to speak to the officer before we can comment," Saunders said.
Saunders said if there is any wrongdoing, the department will say so.
"Obviously, this kind of force is a last resort for our officers. It truly is a tragedy any time a member of our department has to use their weapon to ensure community safety. Our initial review of this incident indicates that the officers responded appropriately to the 911 call and used the force necessary to protect the public," Chief of Police Chuck Saunier said in a statement.
Branson's attorney and founder of the Animal Law Center, Jennifer Edwards, released the following statement regarding Chloe's death:
"Speaking to the culture of the department, just to be fair, I fully support all police officers. They do a job that I certainly could not do. I have a lot of respect for officers, but there is a problem with the culture of the Commerce City Police Department. We have sued a number of different police departments over the years, one of them being the Brighton Police Department. I can tell you that the same trainer who trained Brighton, also trained Commerce City. Brighton, really, they took it seriously. They learned from it, and you can tell by the case earlier this summer involving the dog Dre. He was captured by snare poles. All of the officers carry snare poles in Brighton and they know how to use them. They know how to read dogs. And they really embraced that training. Whereby, Commerce City received the same training and made jokes throughout the entire training process, when we had them in deposition, the officers thought it was nothing more than a joke. We have them on video depositions saying they got 'absolutely nothing' from the training. How two different departments can have the exact same training but react so differently - I think Chloe's murder has absolutely manifested itself as a result of how much of a joke they thought that training was."
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